Thursday, February 23, 2006

On loop

Somebody pleeeeze give me a new song to hum…

right here, right now
hai bebasi (?) ka sama..
something something, hum tum yahaan
reh na jaaye baat baaqi

never gonna let you go, girl
nah nah na na
never gonna let you go


Saturday, February 18, 2006


Taken a few weeks ago at ICRISAT.

I look up from work and usually see this:

Worm's eye view

Friday, February 17, 2006


It’s a worrying schedule for the next few days – I want to travel next month and that means double quick on existing deadlines. I’m editing a research book, and the next proofs are in. I mean to check and sign the pages off today. As it is, I’m stealing time from another piece that needs to be done by next week.

It’s never as smooth as you expect. The footnote styles are awry and one table has gone missing. The system I’m allotted doesn’t have the fonts it needs, so I’m shooting in the dark and hoping to hit six sigma. As my father philosophised only yesterday, rework is a fact of life.


Lunch break is better. This research institute is a beautiful spot, and a birder’s paradise. Absolutely the best thing I like about coming here is seeing the horizon. So much room… unhindered by ugly buildings, wires. Sight can soar, choosing to alight and sharpen on anything at all, from my palm to infinity.

Lunch is heavy and I’m drowsy. It’s a golden red sun but I walk on a bit in the open. Across the grass, beyond the clump of eucalyptus, are four trees standing together in a rough square. The branches are jostling for space and the shade is nicely dark. I look about for the softest patch of grass I can find and sink into it. The banyan tree just across is full of birdcalls and twitters. A few mynahs and drongos I notice, but for once, I’m not too fussed about pinning a species on the rest. They’re there and that’s enough. Just lie there, with the breeze stirring my dupatta, and be autumn leaved upon.

I’m thinking, I like trees. It’s pathetic, really – I just see one with character, or even without, and I fall in love. We have a few at home, and I feel strongly for each one. The guava is dying. That’s not how I want it, a few tree acquaintances. I want so many I don’t notice them anymore. I want a forestful so I can take them for granted, so familiar as to almost breed contempt. I want to be able to rest one afternoon and forget the next day which one it was that protected my slumber.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Talk to me

I received a few reproaches when I disabled comments a few weeks ago. I’m sorry -- didn’t mean to shut you out and it was always going to be for a very little while. I’ve met such wonderful people through blogging, and commentspaces are such fun, I’d be daft not to want that.

I disabled comments to help myself write right. I don’t mean writing per se (that’s a cake that either rises or not, depending) but the attitude. Somehow my readers, ­­real and imagined, had crept into the process, looking over my shoulder as I typed. And it’s my feeling that writing, particularly random writing of this sort, is best done for oneself, to please oneself. By switching off comments, I was wanting to write more honestly… to create for myself a sense of isolation. This is one of those psychological games one plays with oneself, somewhat akin to setting your watch ten minutes faster and then making mental adjustments every time you look at it.

It has helped, I think. I’ve learnt the trick and don’t need the prop.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Baju band khul khul jaave

You must hear this girl sing. Her name is Himani Kapoor, a 17-year-old from Faridabad, Haryana. One of the finalists in Zee TV’s famous Sa re ga ma pa Challenge 2005. Many thought she’d be the one to win it, but she was ousted a couple of weeks ago in a controversial upset. Anyway, that’s beside the point – her mentor on the show, Aadesh Srivastava, gets her to sing in Kalpana Lajmi’s latest, Chingaari.

Srivastava, as those of you that follow the show will know, dotes on his disciple. Given Bollywood’s music climate, not to mention the fierce competition the show generated among the four gharanas, you’d think he’d have given Himani one of those racy numbers sure to climb the charts. Instead he showcases her voice lovingly in this thumri, Jab jab saiyyan.

It’s a surprisingly mellow song, slow, deliberate, old fashioned. No gimmickry, no ‘look-at-me-I’m-so-good’, just over six minutes of contained, soul-grasping song. Listening to it has me convinced this is one of those all-in-one-take deals, because Himani has only a sarangi and tabla accompanying her, and it’s a free flowing, fluidly-rendered piece. Almost like listening to someone do their morning riyaaz.
I’ve heard Himani sing before, so although she impresses, that’s no surprise. But I am rather struck with Srivastava’s maturity; with his choice of song for his ward’s debut and the way he composes it.

The link is here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What I did

Sorry for all this silence… been busy, been ill, yada yada. Most importantly, no mindspace. RAM taken up with stoopid commonplace concerns, not worth spending even more time over. These are not the things I will be looking back to remember, but it is these that occupy me now, cramping me.

Still, the last month has not been without joy. I found diamonds on this lake – water is always hypnotic, but moving over water, with the sun splintered a few thousand glorious ways… I couldn’t take my eyes off. Good trip.

Then suddenly one night a couple of weeks ago, I heard crickets. We used to hear them every night when we were kids – I don’t remember when that stopped, but there they were chirruping over a lull in television noise. Much delight.

Watched Rang de Basanti. The first half lovingly gathers half a dozen characters, tells us who they are, why they are the way they are, what pleases them, what bothers them. The second half takes a blunt instrument and pounds them to pulp. In the interests of decency, there is a limit to the vitriol one can pour out, so I will just say that this was one of the most irresponsible movies I’ve seen in a while. If this was an opportunity to address the youth of this country (at a time, moreover when they are unusually receptive) this movie distastefully squanders it. Very disappointing. Best stick to formula stuff.

Went to the Hyderabad numaish, good afternoon out with cousins.

Whisky didn’t do the trick. Silly idea in the first place.

Now you know.